For some people, standing up in front of a crowd is no big deal—even if it’s on their best friend’s wedding day. For most people, however, the toast is something that causes anxiety and extreme discomfort.
If this sounds familiar, rest assured that you’re not alone. There are plenty of people who have been in your situation, and you’ll survive this attack on your personal pride if you take heed of these wedding toast notes:
1. Put in Some Prep Work
To put it simply, winging it is a terrible idea. That said, too much prep can go badly in the opposite direction.
There’s a fine line between being unprepared and overly prepared. You don’t want to write your whole speech down and read it word-for-word in front of the crowd, but you also don’t want to give an off-the-cuff conversation that doesn’t have any direction.
Best Practice: Create an outline or jot down a few bullet points that you can reference when the wine glasses start tinging.
2. Target a Two- to Three-Minute Talk
When you’re tasked with giving a speech, you’re tasked with an important job, but remember, this isn’t your wedding, so you don’t want to capture the audience’s attention for so long that the story becomes about you. In fact, the longer you talk, the less attention you’ll have at the end.
Best Practice: To avoid a bored audience, limit your speech to two or three minutes max. This is plenty of time to tell a few punch lines and let the bride and groom know you love them.
3. Have Some Humor
Sentimental speeches certainly have their places at weddings, but everybody appreciates a good laugh. After all, this is the one time all of the couple’s closest friends and family members will be in the same place at the same time.
Best Practice: Run the inside jokes by the bride and groom before you go for a belly buster. What’s funny to you may be devastating to them. Plus, the majority of guests won’t be “in” on inside jokes, which will leave them confused disengaged.
4. Toast, Don’t Roast
This isn’t the time to talk about exes or bring up embarrassing mishaps. The happy couple is going to be looking to you to liven up the toast with some fond memories that tell their tale.
Best Practice: Leave the dirty jokes and unpleasantries alone; instead, stick with positive stories that will shed a positive light on the bride and groom’s new lives together.
5. Say Your Speech When You’re Still Sober
A glass or two of wine can loosen your nerves and make your public appearance more tolerable, but if you consume alcohol beyond your body’s tolerance level, you’re setting yourself up for a slurry speech that’ll be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Best Practice: Avoid the elixirs until you’ve handed the mic back to the DJ. You have two or three minutes to make a lasting impression on this wedding day.
6. Tell the Audience How You Know the Happy Couple
People will understand that you must be important to the bride and groom if you’ve been given the mic, and, while you may recognize many faces in the crowd, there will likely be a ton of people who have no idea who you are.
Best Practice: Introduce yourself so people understand why the toast you’re about to give is pivotal to the big day.
7. Talk about the Two of Them
If you’re giving a speech, you’re probably a bridesmaid or groomsman, and you likely have a longer history with one than the other. It’s easy to talk about all the memories you had when you were younger—before the couple found each other. This isn’t the time for pre-couple conversations.
Best Practice: Highlight stories that tell the tale of the times these two came together, and be sure you impart a little of the bride and groom when you deliver your speech. Additionally, avoid using “I” and “me” as much as possible; when people get nervous, they tend to revert to first-person perspectives, but this toast isn’t about you.
8. Avoid an Anti-Climactic Ending
Be sure to wish the couple best wishes on their future endeavors and seal your speech with a solid closing statement. This is one part of the toast you’ll definitely want to put some time into to ensure you wrap everything up nicely without rambling on.
Best Practice: Seek out a famous quote or classic song lyric that will allow you to tie your toast together and send the reception onto the next item on the agenda.
No wedding toast should take place in a venue that’s less than exceptional. If you’re still wading the waters and trying to find your perfect wedding or reception venue in the New England region, The Essex Room is here to help. Armed with a team of wedding ceremony pros, The Essex Room is a place where you can impart your unique style as a couple and usher in a brand new life.
We invite you to reach out to us, should you have any questions!